women eye exam

 Keeping Your Peepers Healthy

Our eyesight is one of those things we tend to take for granted until something goes wrong. Here’s the latest on keeping your eyes, well, looking good. (pun intended)

Get a Yearly Exam

Every year, it’s important to get your eyes examined. Here’s what you can expect to be checked:

• Your visual acuity or ability to see letters or objects clearly close up and at a distance.

• Your visual field, which is known as peripheral or side vision. This checks your ability to see objects all around you without moving your head or eyes. 

• Your pupils’ response to light, to see if it dilates or constricts.

• Your eye muscles’ function and whether you can follow an object that is being moved around your head.

• A tonometry test measures the intraocular pressure in your eye. This is the test where a machine blows a small, quick puff of air at your eye. This checks for glaucoma.

When do you need your eyes dilated?

The National Eye Institute recommends a visual exam with eyes dilated every 1 to 2 years for:

• People over 60 

• African American people over 40

• People with a history of glaucoma

What to expect when you have your eyes dilated

Although you do have to arrange for a ride home, getting your eyes dilated is simple and painless. It really is the only way the optometrist can get a good view of the operational side of your eyeball where your retina (the light sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye) and the macula (the portion of eye at the center of the retina that processes sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision) reside. This examination is essential as many eye diseases don’t have any symptoms or warning signs, or come on so slowly you don’t notice. 

Common Eye Diseases and Conditions

Cataracts: 

This is the one that most people have heard of. Which is not surprising, as more than 3.3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the US each year. A cataract is a gradual clouding of the eye’s lens which starts to affect the clarity of vision and is the most common cause of blindness in the world. 

This is not just a condition that impacts the elderly, many people in their 50’s with a family history of cataracts are affected. An increasing number of people under 65 are seeking improved vision through cataract surgery, which involves replacing the clouded lens that covers the eye with a new artificial one. 

Diabetic Retinopathy:

This eye impairment is a side effect of diabetes and occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in your retina. It can cause blindness. This is an all too common and yet preventable side effect of diabetes.

Hypertensive Retinopathy:

Chronic high blood pressure can result in blood vessel damage causing blurred vision or loss of sight, and a buildup of fluid under the retina that can distort or impair vision. 

Glaucoma: 

Glaucoma results when increased pressure causes gradual deterioration of the optic nerve creating blind spots. Eye specialists believe this pressure is caused by eye fluids not being pumped out as they should. Genetics and heredity are a factor. Luckily, there are prescription drops that can treat this.

Macular Degeneration: 

The macula is the central part of your retina you rely on for clear vision. As we age it loses its smooth surface, but Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) accelerates this deterioration. It is one of the main causes of blindness in developed countries. (AMD) also has a hereditary component.

What You Can Do To Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Guess what? Yes, once again, diet and exercise. 

Your overall health affects all your organs, including your eyes. Not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, exercising, and controlling blood pressure can prevent the illnesses that can damage your eyesight. Here are some vitamins and nutrients that are especially good for eye health:

Vitamin A:

This vitamin is essential for maintaining your eyes’ light-sensing cells, also known as photoreceptors. This vitamin is only found in animal-derived foods. The richest dietary sources include:

 • liver

• egg yolks

• dairy products

Provitamin A carotenoids:

These are found in many fruits and vegetables. The most effective being beta-carotene, which is an anti-oxidant and found in high amounts in:

•  kale

• carrots

• spinach. 

Lycopene:

This is another carotenoid that is powerful antioxidant and that protects our skin and our eyes from sun damage. Lycopene is found in fruits that have a red color including;

 • tomatoes

• watermelon

• red grapefruit

Lutein and zeaxanthin:

A diet high in these two nutrients may help hold off age-related eye diseases.

Lutein and zeaxanthin usually occur together in foods: 

  • spinach 
  • swiss chard
  • kale 
  • parsley 
  • pistachios 
  • green peas 
  • egg yolks
  • sweet corn

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can contribute to eye health.

DHA is found in high amounts in your retina, where it may help maintain eye function. 

A study of older adults with diabetes found that taking at least 500 mg of long-chain omega-3s daily may reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Best sources:

  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • cod liver oil
  • herring

Vitamin C

The mother of all antioxidants is found in the aqueous humor, the outer part of the eye, in greater amounts than in any other bodily fluid. Researchers suspect keeping optimum amounts in your system can be protective. Lots of C is found in these foods:

  • bell peppers
  • citrus fruits 
  • guavas 
  • kale
  • broccoli 

Vitamin E and Zinc

Continuing research suggests vitamin E may help slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) among people who show early signs of the eye disease. Some sources:

  • sunflower seeds 
  • hazelnuts 
  • avocado 
  • almonds 
  • peanuts 

Zinc helps your body absorb vitamin A and other antioxidant enzymes, and may also protect against macular degeneration. Find it in: 

  • oysters and other seafood 
  • beef, eggs
  • black-eyed peas 
  • tofu 
  • wheat germ

Both zinc and vitamin E can cause trouble in high doses, so be careful with supplements.

Safety First

Protect your eyes from the outside as well as from the inside:

  • Wear sunglasses even when it’s cloudy. Get ones that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Wear protective safety glasses and goggles when playing sports, using power equipment, applying chemicals, or any activity that could put your eyes at risk. 
  • Take rest breaks when using the computer. Look away from the screen every half hour for a least 30 seconds. Keep your eyes well lubricated using drops if necessary. 
  • Keep contact lenses clean. Wash your hands before you put your contact lenses in or take them out. Also disinfect your lenses and replace them regularly.

Your Eyes: 

 Keeping Your Peepers Healthy

Our eyesight is one of those things we tend to take for granted until something goes wrong. Here’s the latest on keeping your eyes, well, looking good. (pun intended)

Get a Yearly Exam

Every year, it’s important to get your eyes examined. Here’s what you can expect to be checked:

• Your visual acuity or ability to see letters or objects clearly close up and at a distance.

• Your visual field, which is known as peripheral or side vision. This checks your ability to see objects all around you without moving your head or eyes. 

• Your pupils’ response to light, to see if it dilates or constricts.

• Your eye muscles’ function and whether you can follow an object that is being moved around your head.

• A tonometry test measures the intraocular pressure in your eye. This is the test where a machine blows a small, quick puff of air at your eye. This checks for glaucoma.

When do you need your eyes dilated?

The National Eye Institute recommends a visual exam with eyes dilated every 1 to 2 years for:

• People over 60 

• African American people over 40

• People with a history of glaucoma

What to expect when you have your eyes dilated

Although you do have to arrange for a ride home, getting your eyes dilated is simple and painless. It really is the only way the optometrist can get a good view of the operational side of your eyeball where your retina (the light sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye) and the macula (the portion of eye at the center of the retina that processes sharp, clear, straight-ahead vision) reside. This examination is essential as many eye diseases don’t have any symptoms or warning signs, or come on so slowly you don’t notice. 

Common Eye Diseases and Conditions

Cataracts: 

This is the one that most people have heard of. Which is not surprising, as more than 3.3 million cataract surgeries are performed in the US each year. A cataract is a gradual clouding of the eye’s lens which starts to affect the clarity of vision and is the most common cause of blindness in the world. 

This is not just a condition that impacts the elderly, many people in their 50’s with a family history of cataracts are affected. An increasing number of people under 65 are seeking improved vision through cataract surgery, which involves replacing the clouded lens that covers the eye with a new artificial one. 

Diabetic Retinopathy:

This eye impairment is a side effect of diabetes and occurs when high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in your retina. It can cause blindness. This is an all too common and yet preventable side effect of diabetes.

Hypertensive Retinopathy:

Chronic high blood pressure can result in blood vessel damage causing blurred vision or loss of sight, and a buildup of fluid under the retina that can distort or impair vision. 

Glaucoma: 

Glaucoma results when increased pressure causes gradual deterioration of the optic nerve creating blind spots. Eye specialists believe this pressure is caused by eye fluids not being pumped out as they should. Genetics and heredity are a factor. Luckily, there are prescription drops that can treat this.

Macular Degeneration: 

The macula is the central part of your retina you rely on for clear vision. As we age it loses its smooth surface, but Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) accelerates this deterioration. It is one of the main causes of blindness in developed countries. (AMD) also has a hereditary component.

What You Can Do To Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Guess what? Yes, once again, diet and exercise. 

Your overall health affects all your organs, including your eyes. Not smoking, keeping a healthy weight, exercising, and controlling blood pressure can prevent the illnesses that can damage your eyesight. Here are some vitamins and nutrients that are especially good for eye health:

Vitamin A:

This vitamin is essential for maintaining your eyes’ light-sensing cells, also known as photoreceptors. This vitamin is only found in animal-derived foods. The richest dietary sources include:

            • liver

• egg yolks

• dairy products

Provitamin A carotenoids:

These are found in many fruits and vegetables. The most effective being beta-carotene, which is an anti-oxidant and found in high amounts in:

•  kale

• carrots

• spinach. 

Lycopene:

This is another carotenoid that is powerful antioxidant and that protects our skin and our eyes from sun damage. Lycopene is found in fruits that have a red color including;

            • tomatoes

• watermelon

• red grapefruit

Lutein and zeaxanthin:

A diet high in these two nutrients may help hold off age-related eye diseases.

Lutein and zeaxanthin usually occur together in foods: 

  • spinach 
  • swiss chard
  • kale 
  • parsley 
  • pistachios 
  • green peas 
  • egg yolks
  • sweet corn

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA can contribute to eye health.

DHA is found in high amounts in your retina, where it may help maintain eye function. 

A study of older adults with diabetes found that taking at least 500 mg of long-chain omega-3s daily may reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy. Best sources:

  • mackerel
  • salmon
  • cod liver oil
  • herring

Vitamin C

The mother of all antioxidants is found in the aqueous humor, the outer part of the eye, in greater amounts than in any other bodily fluid. Researchers suspect keeping optimum amounts in your system can be protective. Lots of C is found in these foods:

  • bell peppers
  • citrus fruits 
  • guavas 
  • kale
  • broccoli 

Vitamin E and Zinc

Continuing research suggests vitamin E may help slow the progress of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) among people who show early signs of the eye disease. Some sources:

  • sunflower seeds 
  • hazelnuts 
  • avocado 
  • almonds 
  • peanuts 

Zinc helps your body absorb vitamin A and other antioxidant enzymes, and may also protect against macular degeneration. Find it in: 

  • oysters and other seafood 
  • beef, eggs
  • black-eyed peas 
  • tofu 
  • wheat germ

Both zinc and vitamin E can cause trouble in high doses, so be careful with supplements.

Safety First

Protect your eyes from the outside as well as from the inside:

  • Wear sunglasses even when it’s cloudy. Get ones that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.
  • Wear protective safety glasses and goggles when playing sports, using power equipment, applying chemicals, or any activity that could put your eyes at risk. 
  • Take rest breaks when using the computer. Look away from the screen every half hour for a least 30 seconds. Keep your eyes well lubricated using drops if necessary. 
  • Keep contact lenses clean. Wash your hands before you put your contact lenses in or take them out. Also disinfect your lenses and replace them regularly.

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